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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Canadian Brass

The Brass Junkies 57: Ryan Anthony, Principal Trumpet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

Andrew Hitz

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Words fail me when trying to describe this man. Ryan Anthony is without question one of the most inspirational people I have ever had the privilege of interacting with in my lifetime. And no that is not hyperbole.

You must listen to this episode. It will change you as a human being. His bravery and positivity in the face of incomprehensible adversity is nothing short of inspirational. Thank you, Ryan, for making the world a better place.

Canadian Brass, Boston Symphony and New York Philharmonic: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

In 1989, the Canadian Brass were joined by the principal players of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic for a series of legendary concerts.

I was lucky enough to see this concert when it came to Tanglewood in July of 1989. It was a day that changed my life.

I had recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts. As a part of becoming an Eagle Scout, you get to spend the day with someone who is working in the field you hope to pursue. Upon receiving the request, Chester Schmitz, the tuba player of the BSO, agreed to let me tag along for a day.

Imagine my elation as a 14-year-old when the day he suggested was the Brass Spectacular concert at Tanglewood that would involve the likes of Phil Smith, Joe Alessi, Chuck Dallenbach, Fred Mills, etc! I can still remember getting the phone call from him. I almost dropped the phone.

He very graciously introduced me to almost every one of the players in this video as if he had known me for years. It really was one of those experiences for a young boy that vaulted me forward with enthusiasm for music.

Chester and I have remained friends to this day. I could never repay him for how kind he was to me that day over 25 years ago.

I didn't know this video existed and am ecstatic to be able to witness this lineup again. This is as good as it gets.


The Brass Junkies: Marty Hackleman

Andrew Hitz

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We were honored to be joined by one of the best horn players in the world and a dear friend of mine, Marty Hackleman! As you will hear, the mindset that he brings to his craft is truly phenomenal. And it all stems from a decision he made when he was 16! It's an inspiring tale.

Marty also talks about the many stops along his incredible career, including winning his first professional audition at the age of 19.

He is the only person who was ever a full-time member of both the Canadian Brass and Empire Brass and discusses how it came to be that he and Dave Ohanian came to switch quintets.

And he has some tough love for Jens!

The Entrepreneurial Musician: Jeff Nelsen

Andrew Hitz

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Jeff Nelsen discusses his phenomenal career as a member of Canadian Brass, how he won four orchestral auditions, and how he started Fearless Performance, a method for mastering the mental process of performance.

He is one of the most uplifting people I've ever met and that is reflected in Fearless Performance.  In this interview, he discusses selling yourself as a musician (which he prefers to refer to as sharing), how to get the best out of yourself on stage, and most importantly how he took the idea for this program and made it a product in the form of seminars, lectures, and books.

As with Dr. Tim in the last episode, this will leave you fired up and ready to follow through on any ideas you have kicking around in your head!


Jeff's Website:

Fearless Performance:

Jeff's TEDx Talk:


To help support the show to offset the ongoing costs associated with producing and distributing this podcast please visit

Next Episode: Dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music and former ethnomusicologist for Microsoft, Brian Pertl

The Brass Junkies: Ryan Anthony - Episode 1

Andrew Hitz

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For the first ever episode of The Brass Junkies, Andrew Hitz and Lance LaDuke welcome one of the greatest brass players in the world, Ryan Anthony.  Ryan is the former star of Canadian Brass and is currently the Principal Trumpet of the Dallas Symphony.  On top of that he is a cancer survivor, the head of The Ryan Anthony Foundation, and one of the nicest human beings you could ever hope to meet.

Ryan discusses with us his entire career from soloing with major symphonies at the age of 16 to the Cancer Blows event he is throwing later this month with the likes of Doc Severinsen, Arturo Sandoval and Phil Smith to raise money for cancer research.  He also opens up about the phone call almost two years ago that changed his life forever.

When you hear the positive attitude Ryan brings to the trumpet and to life, you'll know why we couldn't think of a better person to kick off this podcast!

Note: We are aware there are some feedback issues in spots.  We are new to this whole thing and in the spirit of the Minimum Viable Product that we are always preaching to our business students, we are launching and learning on the fly. Thanks for your patience!


Cancer Blows

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Produced by Austin Boyer and Buddy Deshler of FredBrass

Quotes from Marty Hackleman Master Class at George Mason University (Repost)

Andrew Hitz

Two years ago this week I posted the following quotes from a Marty Hackleman class at Mason.  I still use many of these quotes in my every day teaching and thought they were worth reposting.  I hope you find these as insightful as I do! -----

Last night, Professor Marty Hackleman gave an amazing master class at George Mason University.  Marty is the principal horn of the National Symphony and a former member of both the Empire Brass and the Canadian Brass.  In my opinion, he is one of the premier teachers and performers that the brass world has ever known.

I have put a few of the quotes that really spoke loudly to me in bold.  What quotes jump out at you? Please comment with your favorite quote and how it relates to your playing.

Here are the highlights from the class:

  • It's not that you work, it's how you work.
  • How simple can you make the problem?  How simple can you make the solution?
  • We don't see the causes.  We see the symptoms.
  • All that you want to do is make it slightly better than yesterday but not as good as tomorrow.  And you enjoy the chase.
  • When you do a daily routine, don't sit in front of the TV wasting your time.
  • Think of your routine as a physical brass mediation.  Enjoy the time alone.
  • The routine is a question of how you play and not what you play.
  • A lot of times when you have a problem with your playing and you think you know the solution try the exact opposite.  85% of the time it will work.  And that comes from personal experience.
  • I only breathe as much as I need when I'm warming up and I focus on quality over quantity.  But if you're playing a different instrument, like the tuba, it may be different.
  • It is more important to practice efficiently than a lot of inefficient practicing.  If you don't feel like it, stop.  Get a cup of coffee and then come back.  Then suck it up and make yourself feel like it for even 15 minutes.
  • Even if you can play your ass off, try to make it easier.
  • Make it as simple, natural and easy as you can.
  • Don't save the high notes until the end of your routine.  They shouldn't be that precious.  They should be a natural extension of everything else.
  • I failed first.  Everybody failed first.  But do you stop at failure?
  • You'll be surprised that if you ask yourself to do something regularly, you'll find a solution.
  • If tension is creeping into your playing, your routine is where you find that out, not in rehearsal or in performance.
  • Support isn't caused by air.  They are separate things.
  • You want to use your routine to make yourself better, not just make yourself functional.
  • I know (my routine) works because at almost 60 years old I believe I can play better than I've ever played in my life.  And it's not luck.  I promise you.
  • First thing is you have to make sure that your horn sounds like what's in your head.
  • You have to be more responsible about being a musician and not just a horn player.
  • We make crescendos and we don't come all the way back.  If you come all the way back you have somewhere to go again.